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Garageband Tutorial: How to improve timing with Groove Matching

Get tighter tracks and solve wayward timing issues thanks to this GarageBand shortcut

The latest version of GarageBand is packed with so many advanced features that it can now compete with audio production software costing hundreds of pounds more. Recent additions such as Flex Time editing and Groove Matching have only served to push it further up the power ladder in terms of what can be achieved. With these features on board, recorded audio parts become almost as flexible as MIDI regions in terms of timing adjustment. As the software analyses audio data so that it can be moved around in time, it allows timing errors to be easily fixed. Groove Matching takes this idea one step further, letting users nominate one track in the project to which all the others can be automatically aligned with, instantly tightening up the feel of tracks that aren’t quite up to scratch rhythmically. It only takes a couple of clicks, so follow the steps on these pages to see how it’s done.

1: Create a project

Start with a song containing a few tracks, one of which has consistent timing, such as a drum loop. Here, the peaks in the waveforms don’t line up.

2: Select Groove Track

Choose the track you want to align the others to and hold the cursor over the left-edge of its track header. Click the star to set that track as the Groove Track.

3: Please continue

A dialog box will appear asking if you want GarageBand to go ahead and analyse the audio within the project. Click Continue.

4: Continue again

Another window may appear, asking if you want to “Enable Follow Tempo & Pitch?” Click continue to enable timing adjustments to be made.

5: Looking shifty

The Groove Track’s star turns yellow. The waveforms of the edited tracks have shifted so that everything looks in line with the peaks in the Groove Track.

6: Restore timing

Any tracks that don’t require correction can be restored to their original timing by deselecting the checkbox to the left of their name.

7: Flex in effect

If the results are still a bit patchy, you can use Flex Time to quickly correct anomalies. Double-click the problem region to open it in the Audio Editor pane.

8: Make your marker

Hover the cursor in the upper-half of the waveform and click the note or beat you want to adjust. Drag the vertical flex marker to shift the beat around.

9: Star quality

The Groove Matching process is non-destructive, so the project’s original timing can always be restored. Just click the yellow star again to disable the feature.

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